Review: Hunter x Hunter

Genre: Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Drama, Fantasy
Author: Yoshihiro Togashi
Manga: ongoing
Anime: 62 episodes
OVAs: Hunter x Hunter: OVA
Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island OVA
Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final OVA

(Original from Wikipedia | Edited version from My Life, My Way)
Twelve years prior to the start of the story, a legendary Hunter named Ging Freecss leaves his infant son, Gon Freecss, with his cousin Mito on Whale Island. Gon, raised believing his parents were dead, finds out from Ging’s apprentice, Kite, that his father is still alive. As such, Gon leaves his home to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Hunter by taking the Hunter Exam. Prior to the Hunter Exam, Gon meets and befriends three of the other applicants, Kurapika, Killua Zaoldyeck, and Leorio.

After the exam, Kurapika departs to find work and Leorio leaves to attend medical school. Gon and Killua decide to gain combat experience by training at the Heavens Arena, a 251-story building where over 4,000 fighters compete daily in fighting tournaments. There, they meet the kung-fu master, Wing, who teaches them about Nen–a chi-like life energy that can be used to manifest superhuman powers.

The third story arc reunites the main characters for the world’s largest auction in a sprawling metropolis called Yorknew City. Gon, Killua, and Leorio try different methods to make enough money to buy Greed Island, a video game that could help Gon find his father. This story arc introduces the Phantom Troupe, a group of thieves who, among many other crimes, slaughtered all the other members of Kurapika’s clan. Kurapika crosses paths with them while working as a bodyguard.

Finally Gon and Killua’s find the Greed Island, the seemingly-magical video game that sucks players within. The goal of the game is to collect a number of set cards, although almost everything in the game, from food to money, can be turned into cards. Inside Greed Island Gon and Killua are joined by Biscuit Krueger, a master and experienced teacher of Nen who trains them. As part of their reward, they are allowed to take three cards to be used in the real world. Using the card ‘Accompany’, Gon and Killua travel to a player under the username ‘Nigg’, who they believe to be Ging. The anime (OVA) ends here, however the manga continues on.

Gon and Killua meet up with Kite, the Hunter who told Gon about Ging and Hunters in the very first chapter. As they investigate a giant insect limb, they discover it came from a man-sized chimera ant, an insect that eats other insects and animals, and then gives birth to children that inherit the characteristics of all the different insects and animals it has eaten. The queen chimera ant that lost the limb happens to wash up on the shore of an island nation called the NGL (Neo Green Life) inhabited by a neo-luddite culture. She quickly develops a taste for humans after given the opportunity to eat them. The Chimera Ants proceed to wipe most of the population out and spawn hundreds of offspring before Gon, Killua, and Kite arrive. The queen dies due to the King ripping himself out of her womb too early. The King and Royal Guard Ants pull a “coup d’etat” on the nearby Republic of East Gorteau and from there begin the process of “selecting” humans that have the capability to gain Nen powers. This causes many deaths as only a small amount of humans are able to gain Nen powers. As warrior Ants from the old hive rejoin the King, the Hunters mobilize quickly to stop the massacre.

Story: For the story, it's really interesting. The story of telling about a child's adventure of looking for his father definitely caught my eye. Although for some it may be a little too common, the addition of the hunter concept makes it different. I'd say that the flow of the story was very good in the beginning, although sometimes it takes a little detour for some sideline adventures. The occasional sidestep from the main plot gives out some thrill and suspense that keeps audience waiting for more. For some, it renews the reader/viewer's attachment to the manga/anime since it doesn't get flat and out of action too much, but for others this might be making the story boring. For those looking for in-depth story lines, this might seem appealing at first but later gets you bored because of the slow progress. But, for those who want action and comedy, this anime/manga will fill you bloated.

Characters: The characters were well-designed. Their personalities really fit well with their background, image, and abilities. The character development of the main cast is well-done but sometimes, the telling of one character's history is too vague that it leaves much to be asked. Other people might complain that there are too many characters with only a few with solid background and personality traits. But some will enjoy the light display of comic-relief of some side characters whose characters have not been thoroughly sorted yet.
Two of the best features of this series' characters is the dressing and family background. The characters have unique wardrobes from the rest of the cast. You can immediately tell who's who. Besides, the clothes were well-drawn and very detailed. As for family background, I find it interesting that some families are unique. For example, there's Kurapika's Kurta Clan whose members have the capability to turn their eyes red when they are angry or severely depressed. Also, there is the Zaoldyeck Assassin Family of Killua. The portrayal of the family has been very dark and strict. It leaves you to see more into KIllua's personality.

Abilities: I find the abilities of the characters here in Hunter x Hunter to be cool. The concept of the Nen energy and it's types, use, etc. is really catchy. For me, I even took the time to take down notes and study it! What is appreciate in their abilities is that it follows the theory of the more restrictive the condition, the more enhance of power. Without this, some characters might be having overly incredible abilities that will make it boring since they are too powerful. It adds fun and excitement because the strong people have conditions that they follow and undergo punishment should they pass the restriction. Also, the fact that the characters have varying types of abilities on one single basis (Nen) is very good.

Greed Island: The Greed Island arc is one of my favorite parts of the anime/manga. Because of its use of nen as an application of a game, it creates a unique story line that combines the manga/anime's trade mark ability or nen and the use of game consoles and RPG concepts. While the arc is exciting with all the new characters joining, the card games, all the spells, and life inside a game, some might find it to be a useless part of the series as it offers little to the progress of the story since most of the arc is an independent story itself. This part does have its uses of course, such as the jyonen users, the friends of Ging Freeces, etc. Although it may not appeal to everyone on how it was revealed or told.

Animation: The animation was average during the beginning of the series. There was improvement in the later episodes though this was not readily pointed out because of the darker story theme in the later part of the series. In the OVA, however, the animation quality made a notably great leap of improvement. The characters were more specified and detailed and the colors were more clear.

Voice Acting: Voices of the characters are one of the pluses in the anime. I can say that they did a good job picking out the voice actors/actresses. They really fit well with the character's personality and appearance. Junko Takeuchi and Kanako Mitsuhashi did very well in their roles of Gon and Killua, respectively. Takeuchi was able to bring out the simple-minded and determined personality of Gon, while Mitsuhashi did a very fine job of bringing out Killua's comedic and dark nature with the right timing.

Soundtrack: For the soundtrack, I give a round of applause to Toshihiko Sahashi for another job well done! The anime's first opening theme, "Ohayou" is one of my personal favorites in regards to anime music. The other songs were also very good. I can say they were appealing and attractive. The ending songs were not so much as the opening theme though. But it was still fairly wonderful.

Well, in the end, this is my personal review. My opinions here won't always be what you might think after you read/watch Hunter x Hunter. You may like it so much that you are so addicted to it, or you may hate it so much that you wonder why I even like it, or you may be just like me and like the series a WHOLE LOT! :D